Given the terrible events in Paris, the following past VoxEU.org columns are newly relevant.
Alan B. Krueger 11 September 2007
To economists, criminals are people with a low opportunity cost and few legitimate opportunities. Terrorism is different. Terrorists and their organisations seek to make a political statement; terrorists arise when there are severe political grievances with no alternatives for pursing those grievances.
Fernanda Llussá, José A. Tavares 10 December 2007
We know too little about the causes and consequences of terrorism and what we do know is not listened to. For example, existing empirical and theoretical research on the economics of terrorism contradicts common wisdom that terrorists are irrational misanthropes with little education and low income. More research is needed.
Nauro F. Campos, Martin Gassebner 07 April 2009
Conventional explanation attribute terrorism to lack of income or liberal democracy. This column argues that political instability is a better predictor of international terrorism. It says that civil wars and guerrilla warfare provide training grounds in which terrorists amass the personnel and skills needed to commit terrorist acts. Reducing political violence might reduce subsequent terrorism.
The long-run effect of 9/11: Terrorism, backlash, and the assimilation of Muslim immigrants in the West
Eric D Gould, Esteban F Klor, Monday, January 30, 2012
How does radical Islamic terrorism impact Muslim immigrants in the West? The backlash against Muslims in the US after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 damaged assimilation among Muslim immigrants, argue the authors of CEPR DP8797 – and they present strong evidence to prove it.